COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A fake punt on fourth-and-11 that mustered just 3 yards summed up coach Gary Pinkel's frustrations about a much-anticipated day gone sour for Missouri.
His tolerance level for second-guessing was zero.
"I've been doing this for a long time," Pinkel said after the Tigers surrendered 24 straight points to finish a 41-20 loss to No. 7 Georgia on Saturday night, spoiling the Tigers' SEC debut and sent a sellout crowd home unsatisfied. "A coach never calls something that he thinks will not work, OK?
"When they work, they're good calls and when they don't work they're bad calls. And I'll take responsibility for that."
Although Georgia coach Mark Richt noted the final score didn't reflect the level of competition, not much went the Tigers' way in the second half of the SEC opener.
But the players weren't overly discouraged.
"I think we measured up," said wide receiver Marcus Lucas, who caught a 41-yard touchdown pass. "We were there in the third quarter.
"They were the best in the East last year, I don't know if we convinced them or not. I think we can still be contenders in the SEC East."
The depth chart took a hit.
Offensive tackle Elvis Fisher was sidelined in the first half by a right knee injury. Ball-hawking linebacker Zaviar Gooden missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury.
Fisher, granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after a left knee injury sidelined him all last season, could miss a month with "MCL concerns" to his right knee.
"It's not very good," Pinkel said. "That's where we're at right now. We don't have any excuses.'
Aaron Murray hit Marlon Brown for two of his three touchdown passes, the second for the go-ahead score as Georgia recovered from a shaky start.
The Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0) trailed 17-9 early in the third quarter and 20-17 late in the third before turning Missouri's SEC debut into an unsatisfying initiation.
Up by 21 points with the clock winding down, Georgia's fan contingent, mostly concentrated in one corner of the end zone, chanted "Old Man Football!, Old Man Football!" That was in reference to comments by excitable Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who said he turned off the TV last week during Georgia's opening victory over Buffalo because he was unimpressed with the Bulldogs' no-frills style of play.
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